Ladislaus said that it was a consensus among Catholics before 1600 that salvation was impossible without a belief in the Trinity and the Incarnation. I believe
that I have at least one dissenting voice from a canonized saint.
Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 46
[color=rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.87)]But lest some should, without reason, and for the perversion of what we teach, maintain that we say that Christ was born one hundred and fifty years ago under Cyrenius, and subsequently, in the time of Pontius Pilate, taught what we say He taught; and should cry out against us as though all men who were born before Him were irresponsible — let us anticipate and solve the difficulty. We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them; and among the barbarians, Abraham, and Ananias, and Azarias, and Misael, and Elias, and many others whose actions and names we now decline to recount, because we knowit would be tedious. So that even they who lived before Christ, and lived without reason, were wicked and hostile to Christ, and slew those who lived reasonably. But who, through the power of the Word, according to the will of God the Father and Lord of all, He was born of a virgin as a man, and was named Jesus, and was crucified, and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, an intelligent man will be able to comprehend from what has been already so largely said. And we, since the proof of this subject is less needful now, will pass for the present to the proof of those things which are urgent.[/color]
Justin Martyr clearly says that those who lived reasonably, before the birth of Christ, WERE CHRISTIANS, despite the fact that they were "thought atheists." Of course, I realize they were thought atheists, at least if I recall correctly, because they did not believe in the Greek Gods, and believed in One God, however presumably they would NOT have known about Christ and the Trinity. This sounds a fair bit like the "rewarder God" theory.
I have questions about this, for discussion.
1: I realize Justin Martyr does not explicitly say that this principle (that those who live reasonably are Christians despite a conscious belief in Christ) applies to anyone after the coming of Christ, however, I see no principle that would separate Socrates from a similarly virtuous person (if there are any) living in China on the day of Pentecost, or in Native America in 1200. Does anyone else? If so, can anyone tell me what it is?
2: I realize some might say that one voice, even that of a canonized saint, doesn't break the consensus. I grant that perhaps this is true. But, if that be the case, how many voices would it take? And however many it would take, why is that?
3: I realize someone could argue that the dogma "Outside the Church there is no salvation" refutes Justin's theorizing here. However, I don't think this is the case, because of the way he frames this argument. He says those who lived reasonably *are Christians*, and since "Christian" would've meant Catholic at that time, its not much of a leap to assume that Justin would've thought that someone like Socrates or a similarly reasonable person is in fact inside the Church, even though he doesn't explicitly, precisely use that language. Is there any particular reason why similar theorizing is impossible now?